The Single Parent’s Guide to Getting a Kids Passport
The day has finally come: you are going to take a vacation.
But there’s a hitch to your well-laid plans you didn’t anticipate. You’re divorced, and you want to take the little guys and gals with you. But they don’t have a passport.
It seems you’re in quite a pickle.
We’re here to smooth it all out. Getting your kids passport doesn’t have to be a stressful endeavor. With our easy-to-follow guide, you’ll have a shiny new passport ready for the little one and will be on your way out the door.
Why All the Rules?
You’ve probably heard the horror stories about parents kidnapping their children. The extra layer of rules surrounding children passports is to prevent such travesties from occurring.
For this reason, the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program was created. Through this program, parents are notified if a previous partner attempts to obtain a passport for their child.
If an application is submitted, officials contact both parents to confirm if the application was consensual.
Always be open and honest about submitting a passport application to your child’s other parent. While you may be inclined to see the trip as none of the other person’s business, it’s important that he or she understands where you are going and why.
So while the extra hoops parents have to jump through to get their kid’s passport might be exasperating, they exist for a good reason.
Documents You Will Need
In addition to meeting the parameters outlined below, parents will need several documents to successfully obtain their child’s passport:
- The passport application
- Two colored, up-to-date photos of the child
- Your child’s proof of citizenship
- Evidence that you are the parent
To prove you are the parent, utilize birth certificates, divorce or custody decrees, adoption decrees or a Consular Report of Birth Abroad.
Without these basic documents, a parent will be unable to get a passport for their offspring. However, depending on specific circumstances, parents may need to supply further proof to take their child abroad.
How to Obtain Your Kids Passport
The steps for obtaining a passport vary according to the family’s unique circumstances. We’ll cover the basics here.
If Both Parents Can Sign
This is the easiest and most convenient way to obtain a child’s passport.
If both parents are able and willing to sign the document, a single parent should begin by filling out a passport application for the child. Next, fill in everything on the passport, but do not sign it.
Now it’s time to call your ex-spouse. Find a convenient time to meet him or her at the passport office. Be polite and take the time to answer any questions or concerns.
When you meet at the passport office, make sure your child is with you and that you have all the required documents. Upon entering, both parents will be asked to sign the application before a passport official.
If One Parent Consents But Can’t Sign
In some cases, one parent is willing to let their child get a passport but is unable to sign the passport application or meet you at the office. For these cases, a consent form is required.
Be sure to ask the ex well in advance to set the time aside. He or she must complete Form DS-3053, which is also called a Statement of Consent.
In addition to completing the form, the individual must have it notarized. Be sure to warn the other parent that he or she shouldn’t sign the form until they are in the presence of a public official who will notarize it.
The other parent should also provide a photocopy of his or her driver’s license (the front and the back).
These documents are taken to the passport office.
If One Parent Has Sole Custody
Some parents have sole custody of their children. These individuals should provide the court order that established custody along with the other basic documents.
Doing so establishes you have the authority to apply your child for a passport without the other parent’s consent.
It Is Not Possible for One Parent to Sign
In instances where the second parent is unavailable to provide a signature, yet another form should be provided.
Form DS-5525 should be completed by the issuing parent. It is often referred to as the “Statement of Special Circumstances.”
In this document, be as specific as possible. Officials may contact you with specific questions or to request further documents about the scenario.
A Note About Birth Certificates
If you are the only parent on your child’s birth certificate, it is not necessary for the other person to sign the passport application. Make sure you bring your offspring’s birth certificate as proof.
Things to Keep in Mind
Start applying for your passport early. Sometimes, it can take six weeks or more to obtain a passport! For single parents with exceptional circumstances, this length may be considerably longer.
It’s also important to have an open conversation with the child’s other parent throughout this entire process.
Doing so will help if any steps must be taken by the other parent. Give him or her plenty of time to notarize any paperwork and ask in advance for a convenient time to meet at the passport office.
Always take the time to research any specifications on the US Department of State’s travel website, as some documents (for instance, photos) have specific requirements.
Finally, keep in mind that your child’s passport is only valid for five years. It is not renewable; if another passport needs to be issued, you will have to go through the same process all over again.
Want to Expedite the Process?
If this procedure seems drawn out to you, don’t stress it. At US Passport Help Guide, we know all about upcoming vacations and limited time.
That’s why we offer the convenient Expedited Passport Order Form online. It’s for soon-to-be vacationers just like you who are ready for some rays and relaxation.
Choose your level of expedited service. In a hurry? We offer expedited kids passports in as few as one day.
Skip the metaphorical line and jump ahead. It’s time to go on that vacation.